Talking Boxing

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November 25, 2016

Skeete eyes world's best after British title run

Enzo Maccarinelli

Skeete is aiming to pay back Frank Warren's faith in him by winning a world title.

by Shaun Brown

It’s nearly two years to the day since Bradley Skeete challenged Frankie Gavin for the British and Commonwealth welterweight titles in London.
That night Gavin and Skeete fought out a cat and mouse affair, which ended in a unanimous decision victory for the champion. Scores of 116-113 (twice) and 116-112, and what had gone on in the fight beforehand, was enough to cause debate about who should have got the nod.

Since then, the careers of both men have went on very different paths. Gavin would lose comprehensively to Kell Brook in a world title challenge in 2015 before being banned from boxing for his part in a violent altercation in a pub. Gavin would return to boxing after completing his 180 hours community service, and has since subsequently lost to local rival Sam Eggington in a 2016 fight of the year candidate.

For Skeete, the despair of losing a close decision seemed to flick a switch in him. A more offensive minded fighter was soon on display, and has racked up six victories since. The fifth of which saw the 29-year-old win the British and Commonwealth 147lbs titles against Eggington (UD 12) in March this year, in what was arguably his best performance to date.

“It’s all been good apart from that night (against Gavin),” Skeete told Talking Boxing when he looked back on the last 24 months since his only professional loss to date.

“To this day I still feel I done enough to win the fight, but it’s old news now. No disrespect, but you only need to look at where I’ve gone and where Frankie’s gone. In that sense I’m happy with how I’ve gone about things, and I’m glad where I am now, and I can’t wish for better. I just have to keep knuckling down, training hard and bigger and better things will come.”

The “better things” are looking like a dip in the deep waters at 147lbs in 2017. Skeete currently sits at number four and five in the IBF and WBO rankings, respectively. Names like Errol Spence Jr., Andre Berto, Jessie Vargas and Timothy Bradley hover above him. We asked Skeete if he feels ready for names like that now in his career.

“At this moment in time, no,” he answered.

“I’ll dipping be my feet in at world level by the end of next year. Why not? Why wouldn’t I be ready (then)? If I keep winning, and boxing, and progressing as I do then ask me that question (the) middle of next year. End of next year I’ll be saying yes, most definitely.”

For now, it’s all about winning the Lonsdale belt outright. That challenge starts tonight at the Brentwood Centre, Essex in his maiden defence against Scotland’s John Thain who replaced original challenger Shayne Singleton.

“I think John’s a good fighter. To be honest with you, I think he’s a better fighter than Singleton,” said Skeete.

“I’m expecting a good fight from John. He’s coming off some good wins. He had a good win in his last fight beating Nathan Brough for an eliminator, for the British title. So, he’s more than earned his shot at it.

"When we were looking down the list for an opponent and his name popped up, it was a fight I liked. He’s a good fighter and I expect a good fight.”

British and Commonwealth champion, a new three-year deal with Frank Warren and the knowledge that his promoter caused some tremors on the British boxing Richter scale recently when he announced a TV deal with BT Sport. A deal that has saw the feel good factor sweep through his promotional stable.

“To get the news about BT was great, and the exposure the boxers are going to get from it is going to be unbelievable,” Skeete said.

“Whenever you talk boxing, it’s Matchroom or Boxnation. Everyone gives Frank stick, and Eddie Hearn is doing well with his shows but now I think that (since) Frank has BT it puts it on a level playing field.

“It’s great for boxing, it’s great for myself because I’m going to get that exposure now. I was more than happy to renew my contract with Frank. I’ve been with him since the start. I’ve been a pro six years now and I started with him, and I hope to finish as a world champion with him. It’s loyalty. I showed good loyalty to Frank and my team, and hopefully in the long run it’ll pay off.”